From the Principal
From the Principal 2019– Term 1, Week 2
We have reached the end of Week 2 already, but I would like to offer a warm welcome back to the College and a belated happy new year to any of you that I have not yet had the opportunity to speak to in person.
I hope the return to school has been a happy one for your children. Myself and the College staff have hit the ground running, and I am delighted with the energy and momentum around the College as the year has started.
This week, we have conducted two of our very important events on the College calendar, with Leadership Induction occurring for Year 6 on the Primary Campus and Years 9 and 12 on Secondary. Leadership is something that we take very seriously at the College, and it is something that I would like to refer to here.
In those Induction Assemblies, I spoke to the students and families about the characteristics of leadership, and why it is so important. As I said, this is especially pertinent in 2019 as it is an election year, and we will soon be inundated in the media and elsewhere with pleas from politicians for votes as they attempt to demonstrate to us that they leadership material.
I am quite certain that many of those people campaigning for your attention are people of excellent character. But essentially, there is an element of political leadership which does not, in my view, allow for the demonstration of the most important leadership characteristics, which are strong relationships, inter-personal trust and service to a greater good.
More of this later, but political leadership seems more to me about numbers – votes and seats in parliament – and perhaps it has to be because of the vast scale of the electorate that a politician is leading. Political leadership also seems to be, as demonstrated by the tendency of politicians to spend more time highlighting the weaknesses of their opponent’s weaknesses than they do highlighting their own strengths, more power than it does people.
Thankfully, we have a different model of leadership on which to base what we do. It is one not at all about power, but one of service.
Matthew Chapter 20, Verses 25-28:
“Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be the first among you must be your slave; just as the son of man came not to be served but to serve.’”
In this passage, Matthew described the version of leadership that Jesus modelled and expected of others. When Matthew referred to the Gentiles who would ‘lord it over’ others, people who he called ‘tyrants’, he was described the worst kind of leadership – the kind which is about power and force.
But when he described Jesus’ model, he referred to a leader who would be servant to those he leads and as a person who would prefer to be a slave than to have slaves. What Matthew described, is a person who could lead other people because he was one of those people. Who could lead those people because he had spent time with those people, and built relationships with them. Who could lead those people because those people trusted him as a result of things that he had done.
Jesus of course, as described in John 13, also engaged in servant leadership to the point that he himself washed the feet of his disciples. And it was my point to the students this week that that is a model of leadership that we ought to follow. It is a model called service leadership. Service leaders are effective because they lead by serving others – they are humble, kind and generous with their time and emotions.
I am very proud of our student leaders, who I consider to be leaders of their people. In meeting with and hearing the speeches of those students who were appointed to leadership positions, I was delighted with the number of times that I heard them say that they wanted to give back, help others and serve the College. This other-person centeredness is something which I find hugely impressive in a young person, and I am delighted that our students feel that way.
Of course, in the case of those Year 12 and Year 6 students who have not been appointed to official leadership positions, they too have a vitally important role as our senior students in establishing a tone of kindness, generosity, hard work and service on our campuses. I am excited to see the great value each of them will add to the College in 2019 and beyond.